O'Rourke

Ciara O'Rourke

Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and pundits for PolitiFact Texas. She was a 2015-16 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism and has contributed to publications including The Atlantic, Seattle Met and and The New York Times. She graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, with a degree in journalism and French.

The latest Truth-O-Meter items from Ciara O'Rourke

Pants on Fire!

He wasn't in the line of fire

Recent stories from Ciara O'Rourke

Fact-checking claims about the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton

In the days since the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, we’ve heard a lot from people seeking to shape the gun debate with their own theories, facts and figures.  With so much going on, it might be hard to keep all of it straight. We recapped our fact-checking of politicians, pundits and social media here.

“Muslims laughing” at Notre Dame and fact-checking photos in the era of false news

Within hours of the first spark of a fire that damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, people on social media started sharing an image of two men ducking under what looks like police tape as the cathedral burned behind them. One Facebook post, which was shared more than 2,000 times, had this caption: "Muslims laughing while Notre Dame is burning." Commenters piled on. "Islam sucks," one person wrote. "Burn their A** out," someone else said. That post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation its News Feed. Editors at PolitiFact, which has a partnership with the social media company, decided we should fact-check the claim that Muslims were laughing in front of the fiery cathedral. I started to look into the claim the same way I check other questionable Facebook photo posts.  

No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez probably didn't say that

There are fake photos, like a doctored image of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez holding her legs open or the picture of a woman in a Facebook post that claims Ocasio-Cortez was fired from Hot Dog on a Stick for incompetence. Other posts falsely claim Ocasio-Cortez disparaged socialism or celebrated the American woman who joined ISIS. One post spread a fake rumor that she had a credit score of 430 and was evicted twice. They’re all false. And they all seem designed to discredit the youngest U.S. House representative, or to make her look stupid.

How large is the migrant caravan? Estimates vary

We review reports of how many people are on the journey.

Fact-checking misinformation about the migrant caravan

Misinformation about a migrant caravan heading to the United States is spreading on Facebook and other social media platforms as users share completely false or misleading memes and posts that paint a skewed version of the facts. Here’s what’s not true or lacks corroborating evidence.

David Dewhurst’s Phoenix kidnapping claim reborn

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of Texas may have been the first political leader to say Phoenix is a world kidnapping capital. Will NRA leader Wayne LaPierre be the last to loft this unsupported claim?  

PolitiFact Texas turns 3

The Austin American-Statesman's Texas-centric venture in fact-checking political figures just turned three.

Fact-checks of Christmases past

Not even the holiday is exempt from political claims! Here are a few fact-checks from our archive for your stocking.

Chairman McCaul's 2011 baby doll claim

Michael McCaul has a short PolitiFact report card, including a baby doll claim.

Supreme Court upholds argument that "penalty" is a tax

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the health-care law in part by embracing a familiar argument -- that the law's penalty for not obtaining health coverage fits with the power of Congress to levy taxes.